Abbott Rejects Governor-General’s Offer To Resign Over Shorten

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has offered to retire early because her son-in-law has been elected Leader of the Opposition, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined the offer.

Bill Shorten is Bryce’s son-in-law. Shorten’s election as leader of the ALP was announced earlier today.

Bryce is due to retire in March. She offered to leave earlier to avoid any perception of bias.

Abbott refused her offer on the grounds that her retirement is only a few months away and his “government commands the House of Representatives with a significant margin”.

Statement by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Statement from the Prime Minister

In anticipation of the election of the Hon Bill Shorten MP as Leader of the Opposition, I have spoken with Governor-General, Her Excellency the Hon Quentin Bryce AC.

The Governor-General offered to leave office early to avoid any perception of bias but due to the fact that she will retire in March next year and that the Government commands the House of Representatives with a significant margin, I have thanked her for her magnanimity but declined to accept her resignation, instead asking that she conclude her full term.

I am grateful that she has kindly agreed to my request.

The Governor-General is currently serving an extended term in office that she did not seek. Her agreement to stay on was a measure of her personal commitment to provide continuity at a time of political turbulence and she should be commended for her dedication to public service.

Her Excellency Quentin Bryce has served the people of Australia with distinction and has provided a gracious note to our constitutional arrangements through her widespread engagement with the community.

I believe it is only fit and proper that she be permitted to conclude her term and be accorded the appropriate farewell that her exemplary service merits.

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